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Q: AC leak on a 2008 Prius

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My wife has 2008 Prius and has an AC leak but I don't know where exactly. Where can I start to look to find the leak? What part is a usual culprit that starts to leak AC fluid?

Understand that’s a Prius and that car has an AC compressor that works on hundreds of volts electricity. It’s an electric compressor. It uses special fluids, too. You can’t use the regular AC fluid as it will short it out. You’ve got to find somebody who really knows how to work on those things. They are going to use a sniffer to find where the leak is coming from.

On other cars, I can say that you can put a UV leak dye in, but UV leak dye can short out those electric compressors. So you can’t do that. You’ve got to use the sniffer. I’m a mechanic and I have one. They can come with a sniffer and they can check all around to see where the leak is coming from and then go from there. Unfortunately for you, the most common leak I see on those is the electric compressor. It’s kind of a design flow, and they cost a fortune to replace on those Prius. I’ve had a lot of customers and they just fill it up once or twice a year and they last long enough to just keep doing that rather than spending a fortune on that expensive compressor.

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